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It would appear that both of these characters are in love. Even before we meet Benedick, Beatrice is asking about him and we are told by Leonato that they have "a merry war" of wit between them. Like many insecure people, they use humor to protect themselves.
We don't know what happened between them before Benedick went off to war but Beatrice's interest and Leonato's appraisal of the two suggests that they do have a relationship.
Hero and the other women recognise that Beatrice is in love with Benedick which is why they set her up.
Likewise, Claudio and the other men recognise that Benedick is love with Beatrice. As a result, they gull him.
Sometimes people need to be nudged together. Benedick proves his love for Beatrice when he rejects and challenges his best friend in favor of Hero. By doing this he shows Beatrice that he trusts and believes in her. This may not seem to be a big deal but in this masculine wold it is. Her own father believes the acquisition in the beginning. It is Beatrice who knows that Hero is blameless.
One of the wonderful things about their relationship is that they are both witty and intelligent and even in marriage this will not change. There is an equality implied.
Unquestionablely theirs is a genuine love. Perhaps the love to question is the one between Hero and Claudio. Has Claudio truly learned his lesson?
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